North Africa's Arabian Arcadia
Backpacking in Morocco
A backpacking holiday in Morocco is a great adventure and a wonderful way of seeing this diverse and exotic country. Perhaps, you would just like to spend a little time, inexpensively, enjoying the sun and sand? Morocco is an excellent country for a beach holiday that does not cost the earth and you would be hard put to finding better beaches anywhere else! Morocco is a real paradise for the budget traveller, so much so that many places have become well-established backpacker getaways. Prices in Morocco for food, restaurants, transport and accommodation are well suited to the needs of the budget traveller. Morocco is easily reached from Spain and France and it provides an excellent starting-point for travel in Africa, as it borders Mauritania to the south (the Algerian border is currently closed). However, you may just want to explore Morocco itself, because there is plenty to see and do here for backpackers. Morocco has many economical unclassified hotels, which are found in the Medinas, or Arabic quarters of towns and cities. In other places, such in central and southern Morocco, offer mattresses on their roof terraces or under large Berber tents, and can be a bargain for budget travellers, as you can expect to pay around £3 to £5 for a single room. There are also many budget options for eating out, with meals only costing £3 in many simple restaurants. Morocco is an excellent destination for a backpacking holiday.
Beach in Morocco
With its 1,147 miles (1,835 kilometres) of coastline on the Atlantic and Mediterranean coasts, you won’t have trouble finding a beautiful beach to enjoy in Morocco. If you want to relax by the tranquil Mediterranean, you will find unspoiled beaches, bordered by a dramatic scenery of rocky inlets and headlands. In comparison, the beaches by the Atlantic are more popular as they are lined with pristine stretches of sand. You will surely marvel at the sand dunes, cliffs and bluffs. Two of Morocco's most popular Atlantic resorts are Agadir and Essaouira; both have stunning sandy beaches with a plethora of exciting things to see and do. Moulay Bousalam, a smaller beach, with rolling sand dunes, residing within a fishing town on the Atlantic, is a less commercialised option than up-market Agadir, or laid-back Essaouira. Moulay Bousalam is where many Moroccans from Fez spend their holidays and own second homes. Essaouira is the most popular of Morocco's coastal spots with independent travellers, and only rarely do you see package tours here. It has an excellent beach that curves for miles to the south. Morocco is a first-class destination for a beach holiday.
Camping in Morocco
Camping is very popular in Morocco. What could be more romantic than living in a tent under the desert sky? Moroccan camp sites are nearly always packed and there is always a great social atmosphere on site. It's a great way to meet fellow travellers and get close to this spectacular natural landscape. Nearly every Moroccan town and city has a camping-ground, although these can often be some way outside the centre. Many of these grounds have water, electricity and cafes. In fact, Morocco has a number of very fine camp-sites, that are extremely well equipped. If you are travelling in rural areas, you will find that local people are usually more than happy to let you camp on their property. (Just make sure you ask their permission first). Pitching your tent in a Moroccan camp-site for the night is likely to cost around £1.20 for a small tent and £1.70 for a large one. However, you are also likely to be charged on top of this for the numbers of people, electricity, water used and your vehicle. If you fancy a real adventure, you can stay in a nomadic tent in the desert, such as the site run by the Nâamani family in the sand dunes of Chegaga near Ouarzazate. Here, your camping holiday would include: half board, based on local cuisine: tagines, couscous, kebabs, bathroom facilities and desert tours by camel or 4 x 4 vehicle. This would coast about £25.00 per person, per night. All in all, Morocco is an excellent location for a camping holiday.
Corporate Weekend in Morocco
Morocco has an abundance of exciting things to do and places to explore during a corporate weekend. With its plethora of mountains, gorges and rocky fortresses, Morocco is a brilliant location for trekking, where you can follow beautiful mountain trails through flower fields and Berber villages, all as part of your spectacular adventure holiday. It provides numerous settings to build your team and to foster a sense of common purpose. Although Morocco is close enough to the UK by air for a weekend of this type, the country is geographically extensive and it would be quite difficult to reach the kinds of location that are suitable for these activities. Morocco has some limited opportunities for a corporate weekend.
Cruises in Morocco
Casablanca and Tangier are common stopping-off points for cruises tours to Africa. Cruise travellers enjoy cosmopolitan Casablanca in particular, where beaches, clubs, mosques and markets all rub shoulders. Some even venture further to explore Morocco's fascinating culture and deep rooted tradition are present throughout the country. However, because Morocco does not have any navigable rivers, opportunities for cruising in Morocco are usually limited to visiting one city or another for a short time. Morocco has limited opportunities for a cruise holiday.
Culture and Arts in Morocco
The location of Morocco at the tip of North Africa has given it a rich history from prehistory through to the modern day. As a consequence, Morocco has a wealth of opportunities for anyone interested in a cultural or arts holiday. It has a rich variety of different cultures, Arab, Berber, Jewish, French and Spanish, each of which has left its mark on the modern-day country. Morocco is also an excellent location for contemporary arts, in that it has numerous music festivals, as well those for the visual arts.
There is also the Marrakesh International Film Festival, which is highly renowned. It is natural for Moroccan people to express themselves in so many different artistic ways, through making carpets, clothing, jewellery, ceramics, sculpture, painting, carving, and calligraphy. They even hold an international arts festival once a year to exhibit all of their talent. Moroccan art is really special and you will find many historical examples on display the numerous local museums, whilst more modern examples are displayed in art galleries and in the souks.
Moroccan museums are a treasure trove of art, archaeological finds and natural science artefacts, but the buildings themselves are often wonderful examples of the Moroccan architecture through the ages. Unfortunately, you will not be allowed into any of the mosques unless you happen to be a Muslim. However, the closest you are likely get to the inside of a mosque in Morocco is if you visit some ruins or disused mosques such as Tin Mal and Smara. If you are interested in older archaeology, then there are several Roman and Phonecian sites in Morocco too. Morocco is an excellent country for a culture and arts holiday.
Cycling Activity Holiday in Morocco
Even though Morocco has 16,000 miles of paved roads. road conditions are not ideal for cycling. There are no special road rules pertaining to cyclists and they are not given much consideration by Moroccan drivers and you should be to be wary of them wherever you meet them on the road. To Moroccans, especially in congested areas, sharing the road with cyclists is a totally alien concept. In addition, the distances are between Moroccan cities are large and, as a cyclist, you will need to carry all of your supplies with you, including any spare parts you may need, food and plenty of drinking water. However, you are allowed to take cycles both on buses and trains. Having said all this, Morocco does offer a wide range of challenging and not so challenging cycle routes, the best of which are away from the regions with the heaviest traffic. Perhaps the best way to enjoy a cycling holiday in Morocco is through booking an organised tour. These tours have been planned with a view to enabling you to enjoy the variety in geography and culture that Morocco has to offer from start to finish, as well as taking into consideration the safety of the route with regard to traffic. Many of the routes have been graded to match the fitness and experience of riders too. One such route would be to over about four weeks, cycling in a loop from Casablanca through Meknes, Midelt, Er-Rachidia, Ouarzazate, Marrakesh, Safi and returning to Casablanca. If you decide to go on a guided cycling holiday in Morocco, for example through the Atlas mountains, a typical 8 day cycling holiday would cost from £1089, including accommodation and meals. Morocco is a good location for a cycling holiday.
Disabled Needs in Morocco
There are few amenities in Morocco that have been adapted to meet the needs of people with disabilities. Hence, travelling in the country will require a certain amount of patience, determination and good humour on the part of disabled travellers. There are virtually no disabled services or adapted transport, in Morocco. Also, you will find a distinct shortage of adapted infrastructure, such as wheelchair-friendly ramps, signs in Braille, or beeping and flashing pedestrian crossings. However, Moroccans are generally very supportive of those with disabilities and they are often willing to help without looking for a reward. The biggest challenge that wheelchair-bound travellers face will be negotiating crowded pavements, busy streets, drivers with no regard for pedestrians, and the rutted Medina alley ways. If you do want to visit one of Morocco's major cultural cities, Marrakesh is probably the best option. This is because the Medina in Marrakesh is relatively flat, in comparison with Fez, for example. Practically speaking, your best option for visiting Morocco will be by private car, or as part of an organised tour. Bus and train travel are difficult because of the many the steps that will have to be negotiated, and the lack of wheelchair-friendly areas once you are on board. If you do travel by public transport, grands taxis are probably the best option. In addition, very few hotels offer adapted accommodation for disabled travellers. Not all hotels have lifts, but there are usually ground-floor rooms. Maisons d'hôte, by their very nature, are usually old houses with steep, narrow staircases and are located in difficult corners of Medinas. Some will be accessible for wheelchairs and may have adequately sized ground-floor rooms. Realistically, the best accommodation will be found in the new classified hotels, especially in Agadir and Marrakesh. Morocco has limited facilities for a holiday for a disabled traveller.
Family Holiday in Morocco
Morocco is perfect for a family holiday destination. Situated on the North African coast, less than 4 hours by air from the UK, makes it within easy reach for a family holiday. Its climate is perfect for visits during Spring and Autumn when the weather is comfortable for sightseeing but warm enough for sunbathing, so you can be sure that the weather will suit all family members, whatever they may want to do. From its miles of safe, clean golden beaches, to beautiful walks in the High Atlas Mountains, there are many attractions and activities that would appeal to all children and adults alike in Morocco. Morocco has such a variety of different things to see that everyone, whatever their age, will find something to interest and enthral them. Visit the old walled city of Marrakesh, where all of the family will marvel at its mystery and magic. There are also more out-of-the way places that fewer tourists get to see, such as the remote villages of the Berbers, hidden away in the folds of the Atlas mountains. En route from Marrakesh you can visit the ruined kasbah of Telouet and then move on to the Atlantic coast to explore the old pirate hideout of Essaouira, packed with colour and atmosphere. Take the family on an escorted adventure trip for a real insight into an enthralling and beautiful country. For those wanting the beach, there are endless picturesque coastal villages and towns to visit. Further inland, local markets and souks will fascinate anyone of any age! Morocco is a wonderful country for a family holiday.
Gay and Lesbian in Morocco
The attitude towards homosexuality in Morocco is distinctly different from what is current in the UK in that it is common, but rarely out in the open. On the one hand, signs of affection between Moroccan males, such as holding hands - which is a sign of friendship - is accpted. Some of the Berber tribes, such as the Chleuh in the High Atlas, are particularly tolerant toward homosexual behaviour. On the other, lesbianism is relatively uncommon and definitely not acknowledged. Legally speaking, homosexuality between men is and punishable with imprisonment. Hence, for both gays and lesbians, it is best to be discrete and avoid public displays of affection. (This is something that is frowned upon when shown by a heterosexual couples too). Having said that, Tangier is considered by many to have been the world's first gay resort and is still thought of as gay friendly. Marrakesh certainly has a mini gay scene, thanks largely to the number of gay French couples now living there. Morocco is a great destination for a gay or lesbian holiday, provided you are sensitive to cultural differences.
Honeymoon in Morocco
What better, more exotic and more romantic a country for a honeymoon than Morocco? For example, why not try an oriental honeymoon in Essaouira, where Orson Wells shot his atmospheric version of Othello? Morocco will envelop you in a mosaic of colours and textures, smells and sights. With its rich and vibrant culture and a wealth of history, a honeymoon in Morocco is like stepping into a living legend. This land of extraordinary contrasts, with rocky plains, ornate kasbahs, dramatic snowcapped mountains and the endless golden dunes of the Sahara Desert, will leave you with fond memories that will stay with you for the rest of your life. Even if you do have enough of romance, mystery and exotic settings, there are miles and miles of golden unspoilt beaches where you can relax and unwind after the frantic time leading up to the wedding. Morocco's climate is good for most types of holiday all year-round, especially in the spring. For most honeymoon couples, it will be experiences such as sleeping in wonderful kasbahs, walking in the High Atlas, or exploring (and getting lost!) in the exotic city of Marrakesh that will make Morocco into a superb honeymoon destination.
Naturism in Morocco
Naturism is rare and is not generally tolerated in Morocco, a country in which the tradition is generally to cover up the body, even as a protection against the hot sun. In fact, as a largely Islamic country, you will find that the Moroccan people are naturally modest in this respect. Having said that, there are some limited opportunities for a naturist holiday in Morocco in that there is at least one naturist holiday centre (in Boujdour), which has all of the facilities that you would expect of a Moroccan camp site that can accommodate visitors with tents, camper vans, as well as providing bungalows. If you are thinking of a naturist holiday in Morocco, then it is better to visit a specialst holiday centre, or campsite, such as this one. Opportunities for a naturism holiday in Morocco are quite limited.
Party Holiday - Singles Life in Morocco
Although you may find that Morocco is not the ideal location for a party holiday, it is a popular destination for single travellers, especially backpackers. However, single female travellers may encounter some harassment in some places. There are also many more opportunities for single people to take organised tours and package tours in Morocco these days too. Organised tours in Morocco provide an excellent opportunity to meet single people from other English speaking countries and although parties are not usually part of the official itinerary, you will find plenty of opportunities for partying with your fellow travellers in the evenings. You can now avoid the need to pay a single-room supplement by going to one of the many room-mate locator agencies on the internet. There are also several agencies that specialise in holidays for single people. Package holidays and organised tours in Morocco can encompass beach holidays, visits to places of cultural and historical interest and activity-based holidays. Morocco is an increasingly popular destination for single people.
Couples Holiday in Morocco
If you are thinking of having a long weekend break, or a short holiday for you and your partner, Morocco is a great destination for couples. Morocco is only a four-hour flight from the UK, making it an ideal location for a short romantic getaway. Once there, Morocco will envelop you in a mosaic of colours and textures, smells and sights. With its rich and vibrant culture and a wealth of history, a honeymoon in Morocco is like stepping into a living legend. This land of extraordinary contrasts, with rocky plains, ornate kasbahs, dramatic snowcapped mountains and the endless golden dunes of the Sahara Desert, will leave you with fond memories. Even if you do have enough of romance, mystery and exotic settings, there are miles and miles of golden unspoilt beaches where you can relax and unwind and forget the day-to-day pressures and problems. Morocco's climate is good for most types of holiday all year-round, especially in the spring. For most people, it will be experiences such as sleeping in wonderful kasbahs, walking in the High Atlas, or exploring (and getting lost!) in the exotic city of Marrakesh that will make Morocco into a superb destination for a couples holiday.
Safari Activity Holiday in Morocco
Guided safari holidays are becoming increasingly popular in Morocco. These tours, usually undertaken in a 4 x 4 vehicle are not for the faint hearted, and a certain amount of team spirit is needed. Nevertheless, anyone between the ages of 8 – 75 will find them both exciting and relaxing. Usually the itineraries for safari holidays in Morocco are specially designed to match the various weather conditions at different times of the year. Most of them start in popular tourist locations, such as Marrakesh, or Ouarzazate. Safari holidays will provide you with a unique way of experiencing the grandeur and magnificence of the High Atlas Mountains, the rugged tracks and oasis-strewn valleys of the mountain people, the intriguing silence of the wadis and weather-torn plateaux of the Sahara. A typical 3 day 4 x 4 tour of the Atlas and Sahara, including meals, accommodation, camping equipment and a qualified English-speaking guide would cost about £685 per person in a tour group of 4. Morocco is a great destination for a safari holiday.
Golf Activity Holiday in Morocco
Golfing holidays are becoming increasingly popular in Morocco. The late King Hassan II was a keen golfer and instigated the building of many of Morocco's courses. Morocco's capital city, Rabat has an excellent 45-hole golf course, the Royal Golf Dar-Es-Salam. Each November, it hosts Hassan II Golf Tournament. Its 18-hole red course has been rated among the 100 best in the world by Golf magazine. In addition, there are at least ten international standard 18-hole golf courses throughout the country and over a dozen smaller courses. All of them are within easy reach of Morocco's major cities. A number of tour that operators specialise in golf holidays include Morocco in their list of better known golf venues such as Spain, Scotland, Florida and Ireland. A typical, one-week package to the golf courses of Agadir and Marrakesh will cost between £598, with four-star accommodation and £818, with five-star accommodation. Prices include land transport, accommodation (based on two sharing) and meals, but not the flight. Morocco is an excellent location for a golf holiday.
Skiing - Snow Boarding in Morocco
Although you may not think of Morocco as a destination for skiing and snow-boarding, in fact it is becoming increasingly popular. The village of Oukaimeden in Morocco is the highest ski resort in Africa at 8,000 feet (2,600 meters) and its chairlift reaches nearly 9,000 (3,258 meters) to the peak of the Jebel Attar mountain. It has five ski runs and there are four drag lifts servicing the nursery and intermediate slopes. The longest run is just under 2 miles (3 kilometres) and although the pistes are looked after, they will have a very different feel from European pistes. It has all the facilities you find in a typical European resort, including ski hire, a ski school, restaurants and hotels, but everything is characteristically Moroccan as well. Morocco is a surprisingly good location for a skiing and snow boarding holiday.
Sailing Activity Holiday in Morocco
There are opportunities for a sailing holiday in Morocco, although they are not necessarily marketed actively and you will have to look hard for them. Tangier is one of the places where you will find boats for hire. You may decide that the more placid Mediterranean waters are for you, or if you are a more experienced sailor, you could try sailing off Morocco's Atlantic coast. Some tour companies provide package sailing holidays that take in visits to Morocco as part of a voyage that includes southern Spain, or the Canary Islands. Morocco has plenty to offer as a destination for a sailing holiday.
Shopping Holiday in Morocco
Shopping can be one of the more enjoyable things to do in Morocco. The Moroccan shopping experience is very different from anything you may have encountered in the UK. Firstly, many of the most interesting shopping areas are in the winding streets of the old towns, or Medinas. Here, the markets, or souks, are a hive of activity a blaze of colours, sights and smells. You will find myriad things to browse and buy in the souks. If you are interested in handicrafts, then Morocco is the destination for you. Moroccan tradesmen make wonderful carpets, superb metalwork, jewellery and traditional Berber blankets amongst other things. You will find souks in almost every Moroccan town, even the smaller ones, but some of the most famous are in Marrakesh and in Fez. There are shops that resemble British shops in Morocco too, especially in the tourist areas. Many of them are well-stocked with souvenirs and craft-goods. Whether you decide to buy from a shop, or a stall in a souk, you will need to haggle over the price. Indeed, it will be expected by the locals that you do! Sometimes, this can become almost theatrical. However, if you do not haggle over the price, you will find that you pay well over the odds for what you want. Morocco is a great, if very different destination for a shopping holiday.
Scuba Diving Activity Holiday in Morocco
Perhaps surprisingly, there are very few facilities for scuba diving in Morocco. Although scuba diving is fast becoming one of the best ways to explore the oceans surrounding Morocco with their abundance of marine life, there are still relatively few scuba diving clubs. Hence, you will may find it very hard to hire scuba diving equipment. Having said that, there is one place where you can hire equipment, in the resort town of Tetouan. Morocco has limited opportunities for a scuba diving holiday, even if it may have much potential.
Hiking Activity Holiday in Morocco
You will not be short of mountain trails and other terrains to hike in Morocco. Morocco has a wide range of different landscapes and some breathtaking countryside, including undulating dunes, arid and rocky plateaus, secret gorges, lush green valleys, forests of cedar, Alep pine and cork oak. All of this makes for a diversity of terrains for every walker, whatever his or her level of proficiency. The Rif mountain chain has slopes for experienced mountain hikers. In eastern Morocco, you will find landscapes of plateaux, forests, and stony desert pavements. In the south, in the Anti-Atlas range, you can walk over ergs, whilst there are also the sandy deserts where you can make camp for a night or more under the stars. Located to the north of the country, the Middle Atlas mountains are suitable for lovers of forest walks. The High Atlas mountains are wonderful country for all types of hiking, from easy day-trip potters to much longer adventures with guides and mules. You will find various tour companies that organise trips, many of which you can book when you are in Morocco. You can travel by bus from Marrakesh and then a get a lift in a lorry to one of the many beautiful villages of the High Atlas. There are many hiking possibilities there; one of the most popular being the two-day hike up Jebel Toubkal. If you are interested in a longer trek, you could take the beautiful trail between Tacheddirt and Imlil, which runs above the High Atlas snow line. While you're up there, you could even consider doing some skiing! Morocco is an excellent country for a hiking holiday.
Well-being and Spa in Morocco
Although not widely publicised for its Well Being and Spa holidays, Morocco has quite a lot to offer you if you want to detoxify and get in touch with your inner-self. Most of the spas in Morocco can be found within hotels and offer luxurious accommodation with quality food and efficient service. A stay at one of these prestigious establishments can set you back as much as £600 per night in a luxury suite, with 2 people sharing. However, prices for a slightly modest room can be considerably less, at just over £300 per night. A Spa holiday or Well Being holiday in Morocco can include the use of outdoor and indoor heated pools, jacuzzi and solaria. Many luxury hotels hotel also offer massage, beauty treatments, and pampering oil baths, either in the treatment room, or even in the privacy of your own bedroom. Alternatively, you might want to try an authentic Moroccan tradition and have a massage in a hamam (Turkish bath). A hamam massage, which usually lasts about 2 hours, is almost a kind of ceremony that takes place in a white marbled, Moorish tiled steam room, perfumed with natural herbs. You will be scrubbed, bathed and toweled before the massage, which is also done in the steam room. A Well Being and Spa holiday in Morocco could be the well deserved holiday break for you.
Touring - Driving holiday in Morocco
Morocco has many places to visit that will intrigue and captivate you . One way of doing this is by road, provided that you are able to cope with the habits of some Moroccan drivers. In fact, in many places, Moroccan roads are kept in excellent condition and it has one of the best developed road networks in Africa. All of the main Moroccan towns are linked by tarmac roads, and you will drive though some wonderful and diverse landscapes. If you exclude mules, horse-drawn carts and bicycles, the traffic is usually light in rural areas. Petrol is available in all but the smallest of villages and costs about the same as in England. A driving licence is all you need (International licence is not required). There are many fly-drive holidays available, in Morocco, where you can travel on a pre-booked itinerary through numerous fascinating destinations. The cars you can hire range from small cars to luxury of an air-conditioned saloons and 4 x 4s for self-driving holidays. You can even hire a car with a driver. Your travel company will often delivered and collected the vehicle at any place of your choice too. All of this comes at a price, of course, and a typical driving holiday on a pre-planned self-drive route from Taroudant to Marrakesh, taking in Mirleft, Essaouria and the Anti-Atlas for 14 nights half-board, will cost you £1,600 in low season, based on two people sharing. The price does however include flights and taxes. Morocco is a great location for a driving holiday.
Wine Tasting Holiday in Morocco
Perhaps surprisingly, there are some opportunities for wine tasting holidays in Morocco, although you will probably need to book a customised trip with a specialist travel agent. In fact, wine has been produced in Morocco since the Romans planted the first vineyard in the 2nd century AD, and during the French Protectorate, wine production was encouraged. When Morocco became independent, production decreased, as Muslims are prohibited from consuming alcohol. However, Moroccans are nothing if not open-minded and personal choice is a Moroccan characteristic. Tourists, of course, are not discouraged from consuming Moroccan wine and the result is that the nation's vineyards are again flourishing. Appelations and Chateaux are starting to appear on Moroccan produced wine labels throughout the country. Most vineyards are found in Northern Morocco, covering the hills of Meknes where the weather is particularly suitable. The Château Roslane is Morocco's first appellation controlle, and the same vineyard also produces some Fairtrade wine too. Morocco is an interesting country for a wine tasting holiday.
Winter Sun in Morocco
With almost unlimited sunshine all the year round and even winter temperatures that exceed those of the average British summer, you will find plenty of opportunities to soak up some winter sun in Morocco. Marrakesh in winter is usually warm and sunny, with average day-time temperatures in the low 20s °C. However, nights can be cold, especially between November and February. With its miles of wonderful sandy beaches, both on its the Mediterranean and Atlantic coasts, you will not be short of places to relax and enjoy the winter sunshine. Temperatures on the coast are similar but are moderated by coastal breezes. What little rain there is generally falls in winter, but can occur at any time of year. Travelling to Morocco during the winter months can be economical and less crowded too, as the peak tourist season is during July and August. The exception to this, of course, is over the Christmas and New Year period. Overall, Morocco is a good destination for a winter sun holiday.